Your Next Zoom Call, Coming to an AMC Theater Near You

As the US theater industry continues to contend with falling demands, could Zoom come to the rescue?
Isobel O'Sullivan

In AMC Entertainment's latest profitmaking initiative, the nation's biggest theater chain is having a crack at the corporate meeting market by transforming their screens into Zoom conference rooms during quieter hours of the day.

The new concept, named “Zoom Rooms”, will allow businesses in 17 U.S. cities to book out auditoriums across multiple locations in three-hour blocks, with movie screenings, and food and beverage services available as optional extras.

As hybrid work becomes a mainstay and theater revenues stall, this initiative has the potential to tackle two pressing issues at once. Here's what we know about AMC's and Zoom Communication's new alliance so far.

AMC is Opening Zoom Room Auditoriums in 17 States

In a partnership you probably never saw coming, AMC Entertainment and video conferencing giant Zoom have decided to join forces by creating the brainchild Zoom Rooms.

The concept, which is set to be rolled out throughout 2023, will give AMC access to the rapidly expanding corporate meeting market during working hours on weekdays when most theaters are already at their quietest.

Zoom Rooms also seeks to benefit hybrid businesses with decentralized workforces, by giving them access to AMC's auditoriums, fitted with state-of-the-art sound and visual technology. By giving businesses, and their client or customer base, greater opportunities to host in-person and virtual events, this initiative could truly raise the bar for hybrid meetings. 

“Zoom Rooms at AMC will enable companies and other entities with decentralized workforces and customer bases to bring people from different markets together at the same time” – Adam Aron, AMC CEO

This isn't AMC's first creative money-making venture, however. As the U.S. theater industry continues to contend with the impact of Covid-19 and increased competition from digital streaming platforms like Netflix, AMC has made a series of enterprising moves to attempt to recover debts.

For example, AMC announced plans to sell its own branded popcorn in malls and convenience stores across the country in 2021. More recently, the company bought 22% shares in Hycroft, a gold mine located in northern Nevada, and created a stock dividend called APE to encourage investment earlier this year.

How Are Zoom Rooms Going to Work?

Zoom's and AMC's new coalition may sound promising, but how is it going to work on the ground?

Well, from 2023, businesses in select US cities will be able to book their Zoom Rooms online, selecting three-hour time slots in one or several AMC locations. This will give businesses access to AMC's auditoriums, which offer a seating capacity of 75 to 150, as well as access to the theater company's state-of-the-art picture and audio technology.

Organizers will also be able to opt-in for extras like food and beverage offerings, concierge-style services, and movie screenings, all for an added additional cost. If the initiative goes according to plan, Zoom Rooms will be open to businesses across the country from 2023.

The Future of Work is Hybrid

As Zoom predicted back in 2021, the future of work is indeed hybrid, and the partnership between the web conferencing company and AMC exemplifies this more than ever.

As the price of office spaces becomes unaffordable for many business owners, clever conference space solutions like Zoom Room are likely to become more popular over time. This isn't even to mention the lifeline it could provide to struggling chains like AMC that continue to grapple with slowing demands.

“One of the lessons learned during the pandemic when so many of us were forced to work remotely was the importance of a reliable, dynamic communications platform.” – Adam Aron, AMC CEO

For remote and hybrid teams across the country, web conferencing software will continue to be instrumental as we go forward. With clever initiatives like Zoom Rooms, Zoom is an industry leader for a reason. However, our research actually suggests that GoTo Meeting is the best overall.

Read our guide to the best conference call services to learn more about the top solutions.

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Isobel is a writer at Tech.co with a wealth of experience covering business and technology news. Since specializing in Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also spent time working as a freelance tech researcher. As a writer, Isobel takes a particular interest in issues regarding data security, social media, and emerging business technology.

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